We were walking around the downtown car show when I saw her. She caused me to stop dead in my tracks. Her candy apple red finish accented her curves. Her chrome glistened in the sunlight. I imagined the roar that would come from under her hood if her owner started her up. I wanted to touch her, but I knew better. If she were mine, I’d name her Scarlett. There’s nothing like a ’67 Corvette.
My mom had been watching my encounter with Scarlett. “We had one of those when you were born.”
“Really?” I said. “After all these years, how did I not know this?”
“Yup. When you were a baby, I used to put you in the passenger seat, wrap the seat belt around you, and drive to the station to see Dad,” she said.
Well, that explains a lot.
From the moment I was born, cars have been a part of my life. My family opened their tire business the day after I was born. And in their spare time, they owned a slew of cars. There were exotic foreign cars and American muscle cars. They had sedans, station wagons, coupes, pick-up trucks, convertibles, and SUVs.
My mom used to take us to school in a Porsche 928. Because the back seats of Porsches are really only meant for small children.
One of the only times I got grounded was when I wrote “WASH ME” in the dirt on my dad’s car. Although they weren’t happy with the sentiment, I was punished because I could have scratched the car’s finish.
While many of my friends grew up as fans of the Yankees, Giants, Mets, and Rangers, I grew up a fan of Mustangs, Corvettes, Porsches, and BMWs.
My brother and I were the only kids at our school outfitted by Michelin, Goodyear, Firestone, and Bridgestone. To this day, I’m not sure if it was cool or not. But I don’t care. We loved it.
When my dad was restoring a 1968 Mustang fastback that had been dying a slow death in someone’s back yard, my brother and I sat on the humps where the back seat would have been, using pillows as cushions.
We spent our Sundays sitting at car shows and walking around swap meets.
While most kids visit their dads at their offices, my goal when visiting Dad at work was to just stay clean. But that was hard because all I wanted to do was climb the stacks of tires. Or roll them around. The smell of tires takes me back to my childhood. Yes, there is a distinct tire smell.
My grandfather tried to give me his BMW. When I was 13. I didn’t get to keep it.
When we got older, my brother and I tried to list all the cars we grew up with. We lost count at 50.
So, you see, I never really stood a chance.